Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.17.2009

When I'm 93

A visit with Uncle Melvin and Aunt Ina in 2004.
They are holding the quilts Lauren and I made for them. Aunt Ina died in 2006.
Back (l-r): Lauren, Melanie, Papa, Mama, Mikaela
Middle: Jonah, Uncle Melvin, Aunt Ina
Front: Micah, Susanna

Uncle Melvin, who lives near Seattle with his daughter and son-in-law, is an amazing, Godly man. So when I had a college assignment to interview a mature Christian on Godly decision-making principles, he was one of the first that came to mind! In actuality Uncle Melvin is my mother's father's mother's brother--or, by my calculations, my Great-Great Uncle. Enjoy this interview with him, and hopefully you'll learn as much as I did from this wise man who has learned a great deal in his 93 years.

Mikaela: When did you become a Christian? How did you become a Christian?
Uncle Melvin: When I was younger, I leaned towards the Lord, because of Mother, and she would read the Bible to us. But she wasn’t always there, cause she was in the hospital and stuff. And I always knew there was a God…anyways, I got into the wrong crowd, not completely, ‘cause I knew a lot of stuff was wrong, but I did smoke. And then I was condemned for that when I found the Lord.
Actually, when I really got serious with the Lord was when my brother Smith was killed in an automobile accident…I kept going on to Cheney [the high school], but I knew that something could happen to me. And that was when I got right with the Lord. My father-in-law led me to the Lord.
M: How did the Lord lead you to marry Aunt Ina? How did you know that that was His will?
U.M.: OK—that’s a long story! Her father led me to the Lord. And I never knew he had a daughter until about a year later he came to take over the ministry of the church there for awhile. And then I got acquainted with her then, and like I say, why, then I took her to a “Youth for Christ” meeting in Colville, WA—that’s up from Spokane. And then I took her out [again]—that was the only two times I had ever taken her out. That was before I went into the Navy. When I went into the Navy, like I say, her folks went to Bellingham, and her father took a church there, and the Lord kept her—she could have married anyone she wanted over those six years we were apart. I was in the Navy part of the time, and she was away.
M: So after six years of waiting, then you were probably pretty certain that she was the one?
U.M.: Yep—oh yes. I thought she was the first day.
M: How did God lead you into ministry throughout everything that you did? How did you know that that was what He wanted you to do?
U.M.: It was in my mind when I in the service, and when I got out, I knew that I wanted to do something for the Lord. But I knew that I wasn’t a good preacher—I knew that, cause I went to Pullman [WSU] and Cheney [high school], but I knew that I wanted to do somethin’ for the Lord. After we left Horse Creek, we worked with the Sunday School class. And afterwards we worked with the Japanese for 10 years, both Ina and I. Sometimes you’re living—and you’re working with people. Being willing to work and not sit on a chair waiting to be told to work—it all affects how people take you.
M: Is there any decision you can think back to which you now regret? What did you do wrong in making that decision?
U.M.: Well, I suppose if I had a mother and father all my time when I was younger, I could have made different decisions. But, that’s where I say that mothers and fathers are so important—especially a father, which I didn’t have after I was 12 years old. And I didn’t have a mother after I was 11….I was the one that they always farmed out…but I’m thankful that I had a place to sleep—something to eat.
M: How did you pass on Godly decision-making principles to your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren?
U.M.: Well, that’s just it—that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the best father I could be and the best husband I could be and the best grandfather I could be, the best great-grandfather I could be. The best brother-in-law I could be and the best son-in-law I could be! …It’s easier said than done. Through God’s grace and mercy we can do all these things, and it has to be through Him.
M: How do you go about making a difficult decision?
U.M.: Well to the Lord, I say, “Holy Spirit, touch me.” And be sure you always ask the Holy Spirit to help lead you and guide you. Because Jesus, when He went away, He said He’d send a Comforter for us, and the Holy Spirit is the Comforter, and He is the one that guides us and directs us. And He’s always the one behind us, and He guides us with whatever we usually do and say. Maybe some of the time we aren’t listening, but He’s there to guide us; if we ask Him He’ll help us.
M: Is there a Bible character, verse, or book that stands out to you as helpful for decision-making?
U.M.: Well, I’ll tell you, my memory was just short, so I asked the Lord to help me to memorize more Scripture. So I memorize a lot of the chapters. I memorized the first Psalm—“blessed is the man”—and the 23rd Psalm, and then the 121st Psalm—the hundredth Psalm. And then my last one, I’ve been working on the 24th Psalm by memory. Really at this age—93—they don’t exactly back up like they should be. I read my chapters everyday—in my Bible. My son bought me a nice Bible where the letters are bigger—makes it easier for me to read. I go through that. I go through my devotional that I told you about—Billy Graham’s. And then I say these verses over each and every day. And I do it out loud—I do it alone so no one can hear me. Well, they do say that they can hear a moan. :)
M: I’m just at the beginning of my life with lots to learn and lots to do. What advice do you have for me in making decisions?
U.M.:Well, like I just told you, about staying in the Word. The Word will take you through. And if we’re reading the Word when the Lord comes, why we have more of a chance to make it than if we’re not reading, if we’re not staying in the Word. So it’s best to stay on the ball with the Lord. Because, well, about the ten virgins. Remember? They didn’t have their lamps cleaned—or the wicks cleaned—and they didn’t have oil! They were just too late getting them, so I say keep oil in your lamp. And then, whoever you choose for a mate, be sure that you know—you know—you know, you know in your heart—he’s the one.
M: Thank you so much, Uncle Melvin, I really appreciate you giving your time to talk with me. I’m so blessed to know you and glean from your wisdom, and you are a wonderful example of a man living for the Lord.
U.M.: Hope I do—I’m not what you would say really pure. I have my faults. I have thoughts which come across my mind which I have to ask the Lord to help me every once in a while. And the best thing to keep in mind is to pray for a clear conscience and a clean mind and a lot of compassion for people. That’s the only thing I can think of to leave with you.

5 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview, dear! Thank you for sharing. What Godly man you have for an uncle! You are truly blessed.

    Blessings,
    ~Raquel

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is a privilege to be able to interview a older
    relative. I was been able to interview my
    great Grandparents which was very interesting!

    ~Abigail~

    ReplyDelete
  3. This culture often times devalues what the elderly have to say. What a mistake!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think Uncle Melvin is pretty cool, and I'm grateful and blessed that you all see it that way too!

    ReplyDelete

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